Friday, May 27, 2016

Crosscut Blocks


After I did what I did to create blocks for my bee-mates in the Bee Sewcial Swap, some folks asked for a tutorial, so I made a new piece and took the time to take process photos. The result is a very informal tutorial, straight from the cutting table.

With a variety of low-volume fabrics, cut a 9.5" square from each. Nothing needs to be exact at this point, and obviously nothing needs to be pressed either. We'll neaten and trim in a later step. [For my original piece, I used 6 - 9.5" squares to get 14-15 - 5" squares. This time, I used 9 - 9.5" squares to get 16-6.5" squares.  So you can make adjustments accordingly for your desired size.]


Stack several low-volume squares and cut all on a diagonal. Repeat for the remaining background squares.


Also cut a bunch of 1" colored accent strips. They can be various lengths, and scraps are perfect for this. Piece strips end to end as you go, if needed to get the lengths you need, or just to add some interest.


Now make your initial cross blocks. Sew one accent strip along the diagonal of one background square and press.


Add the corresponding half of the square, or mix them up if you like. I lay the second triangle down along the accent piece, approximately centered on the first triangle. Sew the seam and press your block open.


Cut your new block in half diagonally, opposite of your first cut.


Sew in another accent strip. If matching up the 'arms' of the strip is important to you, pin where you think the arms will match up....


Then lift the top triangle to see how close you are. Adjust as you wish. Then sew that seam, removing the pin as you come to it.


Now it's time to trim up your block to your desired size, mine being 9.5". I aim to have a corner of my ruler along each 'arm' of the cross, but not perfectly so. Repeat for all your pieced cross blocks.


Arrange your blocks, sew them all together, and press well, using pressing spray if you have it.


Now is where it gets especially fun! Take a smaller ruler (mine is 6.5" square) and cut blocks from your piece of made fabric. 


Arrange your ruler as you go to get accent arrangements that are pleasing to you.


Just keep cutting, to get as many small blocks as you like.


One look is to just piece the small blocks back together in the order you cut them from your made fabric.


I chose to shuffle my blocks a bit, mostly to mix up those low-volume prints.


At this point, I was on a mission to just get on with it and quilt this baby up! I chose an organic zig-zag design, very similar to what I'd used on my Emphasis table runner last year. Marking every 6" or so with my hera marker did the trick, then just winging it in between. For thread, I started out with a gorgeous variegated Aurifil 50wt #4660 (Pink Taffy) and debated briefly whether to continue on and quilt the entirety in pink, or keep it as an accent. In the end I chose to finish with #2000 (Light Sand) and daresay, I like it alot.


I'm not sure what brought to mind that I should quilt the binding to get more of that pink thread in, but once I thought of it, there was no other option. If you've never seen that before, check out Stephanie/Spontaneous Threads' post for another example.


Basically this was one of those projects that wasn't even in my mind's eye 4 days ago, but there you go. Honestly, when a project just sort of strikes like that....well it's some of my favorite kind of sewing.


If you try the tutorial, feel free to use the hashtag #crosscutblocks